Building an effective talent pipeline requires a shift from reactive to proactive recruiting: from recruiting to fill an open position to thinking about who your company will want and should hire in the future. Building one without cracks or blockages requires long-term focus and structured planning. It will take time and effort but the benefits are worth the investment.
Professor Jeffrey Gandz, of Ivey Business Journal, has outlined the architecture of effective talent pipelines as consisting of 4 dimensions:
Incorporating these 4 dimensions will ensure that high-potential people are recruited into your organisation, assessed regularly and given the opportunity to develop and advance. Note that some will reach the level of their potential and plateau, others will decide to drop-out or will be moved out because of their performance or because they block the development of others, hence the importance of continued assessment to ensure a healthy pipeline.
Some will show potential for leadership and they will need to be given broadening experiences, programmes, challenges and opportunities (commonly known as a leadership track – your company should design how this track looks within your organisation). Others will show either limited aptitude or desire for leadership roles but have high-potential for development along specialist lines.
Professor Gandz notes that there will be many errors in making these assessments since assessment of potential is an inexact science at best, an art at worst. So be prepared to recognise and reverse an error. In addition, be aware that you need to allow time for development to take place. As so much development requires experience and reflection on that experience, people need to be challenged with real-work demands and assessed on their responses, you have to recognise potential talent early and manage careers actively.
By implementing these talent pipeline strategies, businesses can improve the scope of their prospective applicants and continue to make smart hiring decisions.
As always, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.
Mankind has long been fascinated with what, exactly, makes one person emerge as a leader over others. Personality? Character? The situation? It’s only been since the mid 19th century or so, however, that we have formalised this fascination into theoretical exploration. Early leadership theories focused on what qualities distinguished leaders from followers, while subsequent theories looked at variables such as situational factors and skill levels. Eight major theories, commonly categorised by which aspect is believed to define the leader the most, have emerged:
Originally proposed by Thomas Carlyle in the 1840’s, the Great Man theory assumes that leadership is inherent; that great men are born not made – they are destined from birth to emerge as leaders. The term “Great Man” was used because, at the time, leadership was thought of primarily as a male quality, and leaders were often ascribed the qualities of mythical heroes.
Great Man theory did much to establish and reinforce popular support for trait-based leadership thinking then, and for many years afterwards.
Similar to Great Man theory, Trait theory assumes people are born with inherent traits, some of which are particularly suited to leadership and those with the right (or a sufficient) combination of the right traits will make good leaders. The focus is on discovering what these traits are, often by studying successful leaders. Indeed distinct traits DO arise in the profiles of effective leaders and in the way that followers desire to be led; however, this does not alone adequately explain what effective leadership is or how it can be developed.
General acceptance of trait-based leadership theory remained virtually unchallenged for around a hundred years.
Behavioural theory offers a new perspective – that leadership is based on definable, learnable behavior: leaders are made, rather than born. This theory looks at what leaders do rather than who they are. This implies that anyone can learn to be a leader simply by learning how to behave like one: a remarkable shift. Behavioural theory divides leaders into two categories: those concerned with task and those concerned with people.
This theory suggests the ideal leadership style is one that takes others into account. The assumptions, as summarised by changing minds, are:
Situational theory proposes that leaders choose the best course of action based upon situational variables. Different styles of leadership may be more appropriate for certain types of decision-making. For example, in a situation where the leader is the most knowledgeable and experienced member of a group, an authoritarian style might be most appropriate. In other instances where group members are skilled experts, a democratic style would be more effective.
Similar to Situational theory, Contingency theory proposes that success depends upon a number of variables, including the leadership style, qualities of the followers and aspects of the situation: there is no one best way of leading – a leadership style effective in some situations may not be successful in others. The main difference is that Situational theory focuses more on the behaviours the leader should adopt, given situational factors (often about follower behavior), whereas Contingency theory takes a broader view that includes contingent factors about leader capability and other variables within the situation.
This theory bases leadership on a system of reward and punishment. Transactional leadership is often used in business: when employees are successful, they are rewarded; when they fail, they are reprimanded or punished. Additional assumptions are:
The essence of transformational theory is that leaders transform their followers through their inspirational nature and charismatic personalities. They inspire followers to change expectations, perceptions, and motivations to work towards common goals. Overall, they balance their attention between action that creates progress and the mental state of their followers. Perhaps more than other approaches, they are people-oriented and believe that success comes first and last through deep and sustained commitment.
The leadership field has made great strides forward since the 1840’s in uncovering whether leaders are born or made, how followers affect how successful leaders can be, how some charismatic leaders build up societies and others destroy them, as well as what impact leading through technology has on individual and collective performance. Where leadership theory and research will take us over the next decade is indeed intriguing.
If you have any questions, please get in touch.
One in four CEOs indicate they were unable to pursue a market opportunity or had to cancel or delay a strategic initiative because of talent challenges, according to recent research from PwC. The study also showed that one in three is concerned skills shortages will impact their company’s ability to innovate effectively.
Clearly, the skills shortage has now become an ongoing concern. And this is exacerbated by a number of factors, including aging populations leaving the workforce and the fact that current candidate pools are more selective – often with several job offers.
The candidate has become king. As Forbes magazine puts it: (Since the 2008 recession) Companies have reduced costs, restructured, rationalized spending, and pushed people to work harder than ever. More than 60% of organizations tell us one of their top is dealing with ‘the overwhelmed employee’. This year the power will shift: high-performing employees will start to exert control.”
Never has it been more important to take control of how your company is seen as an employer.
For most organisations, recruiting is a tactical operation – a series of things that take place resulting in qualified people getting hired. It is mostly reactive. To ensure that your company has a chance at hiring the best people to successfully operate in a global, competitive environment, you will need a strategic plan coupled with appropriate resources and tactics. This plan should provide a comprehensive blueprint for not only who your organisation should recruit, but also for when, where and how that recruitment should take place. It should of course be aligned very closely to your organisation’s overall business strategy, taking into account any planned changes of direction.
Your plan needs to encompass a solid employer-branding component, the foundation of talent attraction. In today’s age of radical transparency, organisational values, integrity and ethical standards matter to customers and shareholders but most importantly, to current and potential employees. Marketers have for decades used tools to build brand awareness, loyalty and trust to win the hearts and minds of consumers. Now HR practitioners are being increasingly called upon to use similar marketing skills to win the hearts and minds of employees.
Companies must sell themselves as employers. In the age of the information avalanche, candidates can and do conduct extensive research on potential employers – especially in-demand candidates – and they have the ability to access the opinions of past and present employees, together with all those candidates previously having gone through the interview process with that company. Employers are affected on two levels: 1) Identifying and broadcasting the employer’s differentiating factor is crucial, and 2) Conveying the employer’s culture in and beyond the office is critical to employer brand fulfillment.
At the core of a successful employer brand is a clear employee value proposition or EVP, which defines what the organisation would most like to be associated with as an employer and defines the “give and get” of the employment deal (the value that employees are expected to contribute with the value that they can expect in return). EVP’s have become closely related to the concept of employer branding with the EVP being used to define the underlying “offer” on which an organisation’s employer brand is based. An EVP must be unique, relevant and compelling if it is to act as a key driver of talent attraction, engagement and retention – which is ultimately what your employer brand aims to do.
In the coming months I will be writing more in-depth on employer branding and EVP’s as well as how to design an effective talent attraction strategy.
Until then, ask yourself: Do you know what attracts people to your company? As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.
What we want as employers is simple: to find the right people, keep them happy and have them stay. However this seems to be increasingly challenging to achieve: young employees want more career growth; people change jobs more often; the work environment in companies has not kept up with the outside world; management doesn’t always understand how to motivate younger people; an aging workforce; the skills gap and the resulting fierce competition for talent.
According to Gallup research, only one in eight workers are actively engaged at work and likely to be making a positive contribution. The signs of a disengaged workforce are myriad: missed deadlines, poor customer service, careless (and costly) mistakes, and employees who count the minutes until they can leave for the day. Statistically, according to Gallup, in companies with a disengaged workforce, employees take 37 percent more sick days and the inventory shrinkage rate is 28 percent greater.
Ultimately, this is what you risk if your employees’ engagement level is low:
By way of contrast, companies with highly engaged employees outperform those without by 202%, product defects are up to 41 percent less common, and safety incidents happen 48 percent less often.
And naturally, companies with high engagement levels have 25-65 percent better retention rates than companies with low engagement. Unfortunately most companies feel they have a long way to go. According to Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends Report 2014 (in which executives rate “retention and engagement” their No. 2 priority):
An alarming number of executives rate themselves or their companies as either “weak” or just “adequate” in several key retention capabilities:
Employees are an “appreciating asset,” as Josh Bersin puts it: the longer they stay with a company the more productive they are and the more they add value. Our focus as employers, however, cannot solely be on retention or “holding people here.” Better to keep people engaged through measures that build commitment, align employee goals and experience with corporate purpose, and provide engaging work and a culture of development and growth. In other words, we want people to stay because they want to, not because they have no other alternative.
Ultimately the most successful companies are those that know engagement and retention are more than just buzzwords. They have a common sense of mission, a deep respect for their employees and put time, energy, and money into building a highly engaging environment.
As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.
Recruitment is more often than not a tactical game. We project one or two moves ahead – for the coming financial year, say – or we scramble reactively when someone resigns. We might use the word strategic when it comes to HR conversations but we very rarely understand what that means.
I think we grasp, in theory, the value of long-term talent planning but very rarely – in a world that changes at a dizzying pace – do companies adopt the infrastructure necessary to fully execute on it. Quite often this is because successful strategic staffing planning requires sweeping changes to company-wide processes and procedures, and demands the full involvement and commitment of all levels of management. Not an easy challenge.
So we fully understand its importance let’s look at strategic staffing in context. To do this, I find the following from Mary B. Young, DBA, of The Conference Board, extremely helpful:
“Strategic workforce planning (SWP) is the process that translates business strategy into its workforce implications. But business strategy comes first, answering the “why” question:
Once the “why” is understood, SWP helps business and HR leaders answer four more questions:
Why is it so crucial that we become truly strategic vs. tactical in our staffing approach? There are a number of issues driving this need (beyond the obvious: the more strategic a player we become, the more chance we win the game):
Strategic staffing/workforce planning puts you “one step ahead” of these issues, helping you create a workforce that is, and will continue to be, flexible and responsive in these fast-changing times. Its many advantages, however, are not limited to recruitment and selection; it also provides a framework for other HR policies and programmes such as training, compensation, and diversity management.
In upcoming articles, I will be looking at how to get started along with models for effective workforce planning. In the meantime, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.
Time to take stock of 2014 and ring in a new year! Review what we did wrong in the past and start off anew with a bang. Here are a couple of bad habits we typically foster at work that we can change to make 2015 a year to remember!
Stanford conducted research suggests “media multitasking” may impair your cognitive control. This results in loss of concentration and is counterproductive. Humans apparently don’t have a long attention span – rather learn to prioritise and focus on one thing at a time. This has proven to be much more effective and productive.
Constantly checking email
We’ve all heard this from the guru’s, self-help professionals and planning specialists. Now it is time to implement it! Give yourself some focus time during the day, switch off email notifications and popups. Or better still, close your email application completely and only open it during specific times in the day.
You think this might be a personality quirk, but don’t be fooled! A messy desk actually adds to the distraction so prevalent in the world these days. Take the time to sort, pack away and bin in order to start the New Year with a clean desk and no clutter.
Eating unhealthy snacks/lunches
We’re all familiar with the slump that follows loading up with carbs and sugars on days we forget our lunches… AND we all know how good it feels to have a healthy lunch and finish off the day knowing we were productive and focused. Enough said!
In the hectic pace of today we all need whatever piece of sanity we can hang on to. Exercise being one of them: not only good for our bodies, but also our mental abilities. Don’t forgo that gym session, or the walk on the beach, or the run after work. No matter how tired you are – take it slow yes, but don’t leave it out completely. Your body and your mind (and your sanity) will thank you.
Checking your smartphone constantly
Train yourself to take breaks from your cell phone. Pack it in a drawer, leave it in the car, and switch off the wifi/3g connection. Your ability to focus will improve dramatically, not to mention the quality time you’ll gain with family and friends.
Using social media as a break
This is a habit we all too easily fall into. Not only does social media not give your brain a rest, you are simply replacing staring at your work computer with staring at your social media account. Get off your chair and go for a walk, have your lunch at a table away from your desk. Stretch your legs, your muscles, and your mind!
We live at such a hectic pace and in such a demanding world it is up to each of us to maintain our sanity by implementing time to switch off, time to focus on the task at hand and time to recharge. Otherwise we risk disappearing into the bombardment that modern life has become.
2015 is waiting!
The workplace as we knew it has changed radically. And it has changed fast. We’ve looked at what top experts are predicting in order to bring you a summary of workplace trends for 2015. According to Jacob Morgan of the FOW Community, five overarching trends will continue to shape the future of work: new behaviours; technologies; the millennial (and beyond) workforce; mobility and globalisation. These, amongst an ever-escalating skills shortage.
According to Dan Schwabel of Forbes magazine, the following specific trends, amongst others, are predicted for the workplace during 2015:
We also believe that flexwork will continue to be a focus, including variations on the theme such as job sharing. However, while flexwork is becoming more commonplace, training for success is rare. A 2015 imperative will be providing flexible workers and their managers with the training, development, coaching and other tools they need to make the arrangements work for the individual, team and organisation.
The future is here! If we can be of any assistance, please get in touch with me.
Technical people LOVE challenges and solving them! I have yet to come across an engineer or technician whose eyes don’t sparkle when they talk about the machine they fixed or the process they improved.
Introduce them to the team early on
This is imperative. People work with people, and the environment that they work in and spend most of their time in should be somewhere they can align themselves with. Some ways to do this:
Build relationships in your industry of specialisation
There are many associations and organisations that cater for specific specialities – don’t just reach out when you need to fill a role, build up networks and relationships with these communities.
Engage them in solving a problem
Use these networks – if you are struggling with a specific problem, approach your networks and engage them in solving it. LinkedIn is a great platform for this, and it’s amazing the time people take to assist.
Careful with broadcasting the on-site benefits
Go on too much about the late night pizzas, onsite coffees, concierge service, drinks at the office over weekends… and the impression the candidate will get is: Great, they want me to work 24/7 and I’ll have no free time.
We all strive to be an employer of choice but the reality is that most of us still have a way to go. Don’t fib when you are describing the opportunity to the candidate. The biggest gripe we hear from candidates is that the job turned out to be vastly different from that described in the interview.
Ask them what they want
A powerful tool to find out if the candidate’s expectations align with yours. The benefit: once established that the candidate’s wants are in line with what you offer you have a match made in heaven.
Lower the entry level expectations and offer more training and development
Training and development is high up on the lists of the younger generation, and besides the obvious benefit of attracting more candidates, your search will be so much easier.
Hire candidates who are 80% right for the job, they usually catch up on the 20% quite fast to become a 100% employee. In addition, you will not only shorten your search time but also hire more motivated employees.
Treat your staff right
Word of mouth advertising applies to your company as much as to anything else. When employees feel valued, they promote your brand which not only boosts productivity levels but also your chances of finding talent from referrals.
Realistic job descriptions
Skip the jargon and keep the job description realistic as to what is really expected of an individual in that role. Be realistic – many job descriptions describe in great detail the perfect candidate for the role, however, no one will ever be 100% perfect.
Ever hear of the big black hole in the universe that swallows CV’s? A lack of communication is a big gripe amongst job seekers. Even a little communication is better than nothing at all. If you are in HR or are a Recruiter, communicate with both candidates and the recruiting line managers.
There is no specific perk that is universally accepted as the one, but taken together they usually add up to an attractive offer. Perks are not limited to medical aid and pension: they can be things like flexi hours, additional vacation time, all types of insurance, free food, pre-paid legal services, financial planning, concierge services, transport, pleasant work environment and of course, a competitive salary.
Sell your company as an investment
Your employee or potential employee will invest a great amount of time at your company. Treat this investment of time with respect and discuss with them why they should invest in your company. Beyond benefits or remuneration you can talk about revenue growth, current market share and plans to expand, for example.
Where is your best future talent? It works at the competition! Encourage employees who previously worked there to maintain their relationships so that you have a pool to source from when the time is right.
Overall, technical employees view their career success as part advancement and part making a difference. If you understand this, you will build up a highly qualified pool of candidates.
Current research shows us that the payment of bonuses in isolation is not sufficient to keep employees motivated. However, viewed within the larger context of a comprehensive employee engagement strategy, they have their place. From an employer’s perspective, the key is to structure compensation optimally to get maximum productivity from staff, acknowledging that talented employees must be rewarded and retained in competitive job markets.
In South Africa we typically pay three different types of bonuses (excluding the option of a hiring bonus): the year-end bonus, perfomance bonus and production bonus. Each of these three types of bonuses affects employee performance differently.
Employers who provide year-end bonuses don’t necessarily connect performance ratings to the amount of the bonus, however it may be an idea to do so. Studies show this type of bonus really has no effect on performance because it’s the type of bonus that’s customary at the same time each year. Employees expect it and there’s no reason to work harder or smarter, or put in extra hours to qualify.
Employers pay performance bonuses to employees who achieve satisfactory or high ratings during their annual performance appraisals. This type of bonus typically links the amount of the payment both to the level of performance and to the individual’s salary. The built-in incentive for employees is to strive for high performance throughout the entire evaluation period, which means their performance must be consistently high for a 12-month period if the company conducts annual performance appraisals. The effect this type of bonus has on employee performance is that conscientious employees remind themselves month after month that their efforts and hard work will be rewarded at the end of the year.
Employers usually pay production bonuses based on meeting targets and quality of production. This means certain teams or the company as a whole must meet specified targets for the company to pay the bonus.
Employees may not, in fact, realise how their performance affects organisational or team achievements or the role they play in the team or company’s success. Those who do will work hard to make the company or team successful. Those who don’t make the connection between their own job duties and responsibilities as an integral part of the business operations, will not perform any better because of the promise of a production bonus.
When setting up or revising bonus plans, practitioners need to consider a number of key issues.
Selecting the type of scheme
It is essential to consider specifically what the organisation is trying to achieve with its bonus scheme and select or design an appropriate scheme to meet those objectives. The greater the desired incentive impact on employee behaviour, the closer the link should be between the activities of the employee and the payment of the bonus.
Tailoring bonus schemes
Whichever type of scheme is chosen, be it individual- or company-based or somewhere in between, it is essential to tailor the arrangements to the organisation’s own culture and requirements. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ model.
Targets communicate the priorities of the organisation and as such should be regularly reviewed. While targets are often linked to financial measures, many organisations now design them additionally to reinforce behaviours and reflect company culture – although in all cases, bonuses should not be used as an alternative to good management.
While some employers prefer to set multiple rather than single objectives to meet more complex organisational needs, there is an inherent danger in over-complicating plans to the extent that employees cannot understand how to achieve the desired end-result.
In conclusion, it bears repeating that incentive schemes alone will not create an engaged, highly productive workforce. In reality, their effect is often temporary. Best practice is to examine all factors influencing employee engagement and productivity and design a workplace around the full scope of employee motivation.
It’s also worth noting that South African Labour Law makes no provision for the payment of bonuses to employees – they remain a matter of negotiation between the employee and the employer. An employer cannot be accused of unfair labour practices if they do not pay a bonus or 13th cheque to the employee, unless such a bonus was agreed upon when the contract of employment was signed between the employee and employer.
If we can assist in any way, please feel free to get in touch with me.
Understandably, employers are often reluctant to enter a permanent employment relationship with someone they might only have met briefly during an interview. One apparently obvious answer is to write a probationary period into the contract.
Schedule 8 of the Labour Relations Act makes specific reference to probation and in part reads, “The purpose of probation is to give the employer an opportunity to evaluate the employee’s performance before confirming the employment.” This implies that the status of the employee during probation is less than permanent and that it is a simple matter either to dismiss the employee during probation, or to simply not confirm the appointment.
An employee on probation has the right to expect his employer to take all steps necessary during the probation period to ensure that their performance is satisfactory, including giving whatever instruction, training, guidance or counselling may reasonably be necessary.
The probationary period can:
• Help the employee achieve training goals and performance objectives
• Ensure that the employee has all the tools to perform the job successfully
• Help the employee develop the skills needed to perform the job
• Confirm that the best qualified person was chosen for the position
• Foster a mutual understanding of expectations, standards of performance, and the evaluation process
• Help the employee achieve regular status
During the probationary period the new employee needs as much support as possible. This is a very crucial time for you and the employee, so set aside plenty of time to:
• Provide the employee with a clear job description
• Provide clear performance standards so the employee understands what is expected and how they will be measured
• Acquaint the employee with office procedures and practices
• Provide a good systematic orientation for the new employee
• Explain how and when the employee will be evaluated
• Provide follow-up sessions as often as necessary so the employee can adjust to their new working environment
• Tell the employee in advance when their probationary period will be over and explain what it means to become a regular status employee
• Evaluate the employee’s performance in accordance with applicable policies, procedures, and contracts
• Show a continuing interest in the new employee (it’s not enough to explain terms and conditions of employment and leave the employee to take it from there alone)
Remember to Evaluate
Probation is the most critical period to assess your employee. At the end of the probationary period, you should have complete confidence that your employee meets or exceeds performance standards; to know that, you must evaluate job performance.
Dismissal During the Probationary Period
Unsatisfactory performers and unsuitable employees should be released during the probationary period without delay. Delaying does little to help the company or the employee. It is crucial that the right procedure is followed which should include an investigation to establish the reasons for unsatisfactory performance and the employer should consider other ways, short of dismissal, to remedy the matter. If the employer wishes to demote the employee as an alternative to dismissal, then the employee should first have been counselled or given the opportunity to state his case.
Questions to ask yourself before you dismiss an employee during the probationary period:
• Was the employee informed in advance that he/she would be placed on probation?
• Was the period of probation determined in advance and set for a reasonable period?
• Was the employee offered sufficient orientation to the company and department?
• Did the employee receive clear performance standards?
• Has the employee had sufficient time to understand the job duties and demonstrate performance level?
• Has the less-than-satisfactory progress been discussed with the employee?
• Has it been documented in a performance appraisal?
• Were they offered reasonable evaluation, instruction, training, guidance or counselling in order to allow them to render a satisfactory service?
• Has the employee had sufficient time to correct the deficiency? In the case of poor work habits, did the employee know that the behavior was totally unsatisfactory?
An employer may choose to extend the employee’s probation period in order to further assess performance. This might occur where the employee shows potential to perform but might have failed in some areas. Before extending the probation period the employer is required to give the employee the opportunity to make representations as regards the proposed extension.
Although the grounds for dismissal might not have to be as “compelling” as for employees who have completed the probationary period, there must still be reasons. In reality there is very little difference between the rights of an individual who is fully employed and one who is on probation. Protect your company by making sure fair procedures, in accordance with the labour relations act, are followed.
If DAV can assist, please feel free to get in touch with me.
Anita Hoole, Managing Director
SA Labour Guide Forum (www.labourguide.co.za)
MGI Bass Gordon GHF (www.bassgordon.co.za)
HR Future (http://www.hrfuture.net)